The Far-Reaching Benefits of America’s Energy Boom
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  • thibaud

    The benefits to specialty chemicals companies that use natural gas as a feedstock are occurring now and already showing up in their earnings from their US operations.

    But it needs to be remembered that the payoff was DECADES in the making, and similar payoffs from other unconventional fuels investments will likewise take decades to materialize.

    Here’s another link, to a Nordhaus-Shellenberger interview with Penn State gas expert Terry Engelder, on the federal government’s crucial role in the shale gas revolution.

    “Engelder’s testimony relates the long and productive partnership between the gas industry and the federal government that led to today’s ongoing shale gas revolution. ‘The government got it really right,’ says Engelder. ‘In terms of a symbol of effective public-private venture, it’s shale gas.’ ”

    And finally, an interview with right-wing gas exec Dan Steward of Mitchell Energy wherein he agrees wholeheartedly that federal funding and support was critical – not least the brilliant seismic mapping work done by Dept of Energy engineers at Sandia Labs in New Mexico:

  • Kris

    “The U.S. economy is still struggling, but at least the horizon is brightening.”

    As if a massive conflagration were approaching…

  • Mrs. Davis

    Once again, Thibaud proves nothing. Because government spreads dollars liberally over research does not mean the research would not have occurred without government money. Too much of the money government spends in research is wasted or goes to support politically favored companies, as Solyndra demonstrates. If we got the government out of business, maybe business would get out of government.

  • Nathan

    @ Mrs. Davis: I wouldn’t normally side with Thibaud, but I think you are being unfair to him here. It is certainly possible that the research and surveying needed to open up the shale and fracking booms would have occurred without government investment, but we don’t know that it would have either. It’s fair to point out a positive role government has played when such examples can be found.

    I think it’s also unfair to compare this sort of government involvement (surveys and basic research it sounds like) to Solyndra, the subsidization of *production*, which is frankly ridiculous even if it works.

    Honestly, the government would have been irresponsible if it didn’t at least get involved with the survey part of this. The US government should be aware of its available resources on federal land.

    Government investment in basic research for future energy sources is similarly well-advised. In these times of tight budgets, that money will have to be mothered however: we can’t afford to finance research in every rainbow in the sky. Sadly, yes, we must assume that this expenditure will come along with some amount of favorite-picking and general corruption.

  • thibaud

    Read the links, Mrs D.

    Listen to oil exec and self-described Reagan conservative Dan Steward.

    This one’s open-and-shut. If no DoE programs over the last quarter of the 20c, no shale gas revolution in the 21c.

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